New research reveals the most dangerous country to be a woman

For all intents and purposes, 2017 was a progressive year when it came to women's rights. The #MeToo campaign was reignited - and the Time's Up movement born - after the New York Times published an explosive exposé detailing decades of sexual harassment and abuse inflicted by the film producer, Harvey Weinstein. This sparked a domino effect, which saw hundreds of Hollywood actors, writers, directors, agents and producers - including the likes of Natalie Portman, Rashida Jones and Emma Stone - vow to combat systemic sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry and US workplaces.

Since then, a number of influential men have been levelled with accusations of sexual harassment and assault, such as Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner, Morgan Freeman, R Kelly and Mario Testino. But the delay in charging and convicting such figures (Weinstein was only arrested on charges of rape, criminal sex acts and sexual misconduct related to interactions with two women in May) makes it apparent that we still have a way to go.

Indeed, a new study conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation has revealed the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman, and results hit more close to home than we would like.

The report, which was based on a survey of 550 experts on women's issues from Europe, Africa, the Americas, South East Asia, South Asia and the Pacific, found that India is the most dangerous place to be a woman in the world, in terms of sexual violence against women, forced marriage, forced labour, sexual slavery and human trafficking for domestic work.

India also ranked as the most dangerous for the risks that women face from cultural practices, including female genital mutilation, domestic abuse, acid attacks and child marriage.

Respondents included academics, healthcare staff, aid professionals, organisation workers, civil service staff, development specialists and social commentators.

Government data has shown that reported instances of violence against women in India has risen by 83 per cent between 2007 and 2017, with four cases of rape being disclosed to authorities every hour.

Certainly, India has made headlines around the world for a number of high profile sexual crimes against women. In April, a seven-year-old girl was raped and murdered during a wedding in the town of Kotwali Nagar. And earlier this year, eight Hindu men were accused of the gang rape of an eight-year-old Muslim girl.

In a separate case, thousands of citizens took to the streets to protest the death of a 16-year-old girl, who was raped and burnt alive in her own home.

"India has shown utter disregard and disrespect for women… rape, marital rapes, sexual assault and harassment, female infanticide has gone unabated," Manjunath Gangadhara, an official from the Karnataka state government has since asserted. "The world’s fastest growing economy and leader in space and technology is shamed for violence committed against women."
While India takes the top spot in the study conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen, Nigeria and the United States - in that order - were also in the top 10.